On “The End”

End_Times_frame_21By: Nick “Tapobu” Rohlf
I remember reading the Left Behind books back in high school. I don’t remember how many there were. 7? 9? 12? Not sure. Well, being the uneducated young man that I was, I found the books to be a quite gripping account of what would almost definitely happen when God decides to flip the “end times” switch. And then I got to that final book, when Jesus returns. I don’t know if this is what the book intended to portray, but I distinctly remember picturing a two-hundred-foot-tall Jesus suddenly appearing on earth and taking lead of the last dying armies of God. This Godzilla Christ then proceeded to quote singular bible verses, which naturally led to enemy soldiers spontaneously bursting into flames and exploding. And…well, suffice it to say I began to doubt the authors a bit.
Years later, I still remember what exists in those books. I remember the quite literal interpretation of a rather symbolic work of literature. I remember the nonbelievers slowly turning to the Bible as a means of fighting this new world order, with no one to lead them but themselves. I remember creepy undead demon angels [that only Christians could see, of course] going around and slaughtering hordes of sinners for no reason other than that they did not know the love of Christ. I remember the “mark of the beast” that renders anyone who receives it incapable of receiving God’s grace. I could go on, but I believe the reader may already be picking up on the problem with some of these end times novels. For those who haven’t yet, let me lay it out for you. The speculations that these and other end-times novels make not only directly oppose much of what is written in the Bible, but they are also extremely harmful to those who believe them. If you read between the lines of series such as Last JihadLeft Behind, or The End, you will quickly come to several conclusions about the way the world is run.
  1. It is a war. It is us vs them. “They” are anti-American global powers that hate God, hate Israel, and hate America. We must recognize this evil and call it out.
  2. The end times are pretty much happening now. See how everyone hates Israel? See how there’s unrest in the Middle-East? See how Christianity is falling out of favor with the rest of the world? It’s gonna happen. Any time.
  3. When the End Times hit, there’s going to be a rapture. We’re going to be sucked up to heaven away from all the mess, and the sinners are going to be left to sort it out for themselves. Some of them will become Christians, but most will die horrible deaths and that will be sad. But not too sad because they kinda deserve it.
Starting to see a few problems here? I’ll break it down again, point by point.
  1. We’re being taught to hate and fear those who aren’t like us. If someone opposes something we believe for any reason, we see it as a direct and calculated assault on God Himself. Moreover, we see the rest of the world as an enemy because a literal translation of the end times prophecies has a corrupt one-world government coming about. This idea in and of itself causes us to fear alliances, fear the U.N., and fear any country that disagrees with us for any reason whatsoever. What’s worse, it is starting to damage our country. Conservatives and liberals fear each other on religious grounds. To the conservative Christian, liberals are godless government lackeys who want to police our every move and take away our guns. To the liberal Christian, conservatives are heartless, self-centered egotists who worry too much about minor theological and semantic issues and not enough about the world at large. In short, this ideology is causing us to see a potential enemy in anyone who disagrees with us.
  2. In trying to see the End Times in everything that happens, we’re becoming major conspiracy theorists. We’re trying to chain everything together into a series of events that is definitely related and definitely anti-Christian in intent. There are so many conspiracy theorists out there both on the left and the right who have millions of sycophantic followers. We want to believe there’s an enemy out to get us because it makes us feel as though we have more of a purpose in this world.
  3. Because of the very idea of the rapture, we secretly want the end times to happen. We want to world to tear itself apart because we’re not going to suffer because of it. We don’t believe that we are going to have to take any responsibility for our actions because ultimately we must be right with God. We want the rapture to happen, and we want everyone else to be left behind without a light to guide them. As Christ said, we are the salt of the earth. We want that salt to disappear, and then we expect the world to suddenly become salty again. This goes against so much in the Bible.
Ultimately, this blog isn’t about whether or not the end times are being coordinated as we speak. For all we know, they might be. It’s a matter of whether we are to be the heroes or villains of our self-inflicted prophecies. Two thousand years ago, many prominent Jewish leaders were zealots and conspiracy theorists. They saw Rome as an evil empire, and they knew that soon a Messiah would come to overthrow the evil. Then Christ came. He didn’t want to be king, he didn’t ride a horse, and he definitely didn’t shoot explosive words out of his mouth. And so the Jewish authorities rejected him in the most horrifying and painful way possible. And now today, we’re once again creating the same expectations ancient Jewish tradition had created. We have a rather distinct outline of what is going to happen next. We will fall under global leadership. Israel will get attacked and win. And we’ll get whisked away to heaven to watch the world burn. I don’t want that to be what our generation of believers are remembered for. I don’t want us to be the ones that kill Christ.
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2 thoughts on “On “The End”

  1. Matt Latchaw says:

    Great article, Nick. Another interesting tidbit about the rapture. One of the verses cited most often in support of this image if the rapture is Matt. 24:40-41. “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”

    This is classic proof-texting. Take a look back a few verses. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” Who were the ones taken away in the days of Noah? It sure wasn’t the righteous!

  2. Nick Rohlf says:

    That is true. I didn’t want to go after the inherent validity of the rapture/end-times arguments because biblical interpretation and semantics can be argued all day to little effect. The effects of such hard-line beliefs, however, are a much more serious and immediate issue.

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